For Immediate Release
December 16, 2015
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer
Omnibus Bill Includes Increased Funding for National Service Programs
Cost-Effective Services for Students, Veterans, Military Families and Communities Recovering from Natural Disasters Preserved
Washington, DC – The agreement between the House and Senate on a massive Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus spending package includes $1.1 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers national service programs including AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
The FY 16 budget represents an increase of $40 million for CNCS from FY 15, including an increase of $51 million in AmeriCorps grants. Earlier this year, the House and Senate had approved bills to dramatically reduce the federal investment in CNCS. A detailed analysis is available here.
AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service, issued the following statement in response to the agreement:
“This is good news for countless communities across the country that rely on AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our nation. It means we can continue to tap our nation’s most valuable resource – the talent and energy of our citizens. We can continue to put ‘boots on the ground’ to strengthen education from preschool through college, help communities recover and rebuild after natural disasters, support veterans and military families, combat poverty, assist seniors in independent living, and build economic opportunity across the country.
We’re extremely grateful to the champions of the increased funding for national service, particularly Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairs Roy Blunt and Tom Cole and Ranking Members Patty Murray and Rosa DeLauro – as well as to the Appropriations Committee leadership who helped make this possible, including Senators Barbara Mikulski and Thad Cochran, and Representatives Hal Rogers and Nita Lowey. This would not have happened without them, or without the thousands of national service supporters who weighed in with their members of Congress.
We’re disappointed, however, that Congress reduced the budget for the Social Innovation Fund from $70 million to $50 million. The SIF positions the federal government to be a catalyst for impact by mobilizing private resources to find and grow community solutions with evidence of results – a necessary investment in these tight budget times.
We also believe it’s time to increase the investment in Senior Corps, which leverages the skills and experience of our citizens aged 55 and older to make a difference for individuals, nonprofits, faith-based and other community organizations.
We must redouble our efforts next year to scale the investment in national service. We still have a long way to go to improve communities, impact lives, and unite the nation. Through a robust private-public framework, national service can achieve these goals.
We’ve always known that the case for investing in low-cost, high-yield national service programs through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps is something Americans can all agree on. Now we have the evidence to back it up. A poll released in October by Republican firm TargetPoint asked voters in nine battleground states about their views on national service and the response was overwhelming: 83% of voters, including 78% of Republicans, 84% of Independents, 78% of Tea Party, and 90% of Democrats, want Congress to maintain or increase the federal levels of spending and investment in national service.
Voices for National Service will continue to work with our champions in Congress to ensure that we realize the potential for national service at scale to meet the pressing needs of the nation.”
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who advocate to ensure Americans of all ages have the opportunity to serve and volunteer in their community. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service has built strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders and helped position national service as a viable policy solution to tackle unmet needs, expand opportunity, and leverage human capital.